National Duolian Resophonic Guitar (1933)

National  Duolian Resophonic Guitar  (1933)
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Item # 8781
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National Duolian Model Resophonic Guitar (1933), made in Los Angeles, grey/green crinkle enamel finish, steel body, maple neck with ebonized fingerboard, brown hard shell case.

This beautiful National Duolian hails from late 1933, a product of the middle period of the Great Depression. The stamped steel body has a crystalline silver/green body finish and the second type "rolled edge" f-holes, but it retains the earlier style 12-fret mahogany neck. This would have been one of the last of the 12-fret Duolians made, as the design was altered to a 14-fret neck joint within a few serial numbers of this one. The neck features the older slotted headstock, also soon replaced with a solid design with more "modern" vertical tuners. The "National Duolian" logo is stamped into the face of the headstock with the serial number on the top edge. The 12-fret neck combined with the "rolled" f-holes was considered by National scholar Bob Brozman to be the best-sounding of all the single-cone variations.

These $32.50 Duolians were the least expensive resonator National guitar offered in the 1930s with a thin-gauge steel body and minimal appointments. Sold in fairly large numbers, they may well have enabled the company to survive the hard times of the early 1930s. The model was popular with period blues and hillbilly musicians, offering an unbeatable combination of value and volume. While they are generally considered as the perfect Delta-style blues instrument, the Duolian is just a great-sounding guitar for blues and many styles beyond. This is easily one of the nicest examples we have had in a while; nicely original and also a great player.
 
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This Duolian is a superb and only comparatively lightly worn example of this often heavily played-in instrument, showing some typical minor wear but no heavy abuse. The body finish has some scratches and dings but is only worn down to the metal just below the high E string on the face and still has a great look. The coverplate is amazingly free of wear or chipping to the enamel. The instrument is all original including the cone, biscuit and saddle, tuners, and tailpiece.

The neck finish shows only light wear and capo marks. The original frets are still in good-playing condition; the ebonized maple fingerboard has a few old sealed dryness cracks but is completely solid. The neck had been cleanly reset with a new maple saddle and the action is excellent for blues styles mixing fingers and slide and standard playing styles as well. For the blues purist this is a powerful-voiced instrument, as good-sounding a single cone National as we have had in some time. Includes a sturdy modern HSC. Overall Excellent Condition.